The Difference Between Writing and Writing


Oh shit.

Yeah… About that last post. It turns out I based my last post on the wrong readings. So uhh… oops. If that was not clear enough, I will include the following image to help explain my inexplicable and silly circumstance:

Bad Luck Max

Thanks, Bad Luck Brian. You’re always there when I need you at the worst possible times. With that out of the way, how about something about something relating to reading and/or writing?

In fact, hold up a sec. Let us take a look at this meme. Aside from the poor fellow, who I presume was named Brian, who has now become an Internet punchline, what else do memes represent?

It is definitely a product of the Internet era, so there is that, but there is something else about it. Here, go ahead and create one yourself. Pick any meme and any subject you want. Don’t let me dictate the meme you want. I will even create another one.

Blog Meme

An Internet meme is something you wanted to write. You were not required by some academic authority to do so, although I would be flattered if you considered me one.

Katheen Blake Yancey makes a good point when she says:

Such writing is what Deborah Brandt has called self-sponsored writing: a writing that belongs to the writer, not to an institution, with the result that people– students, senior citizens, employees, volunteers, family members, sensible and non-sensible people alike– want to compose and do– on the page and on the network– to each other. (Yancey 4)

The Internet meme is one of the strongest examples of writing for the self. It is simply meant to convey an idea that is palatable to the self and anyone alike. Yancey generally included 21st century technology as a reason for expanding the writer, but she did not really give enough credit to the Internet meme. It combines the best parts of online communication. Memes usually refer to a pop culture phrase and/or image and distill the basic components into a picture that relates to an event in real life. Or denizens of the Interwebs love finding odd and funny pictures and give them a cultural life by incorporating a witty repeatable phrase.

We live in an era where anyone of us can express our thoughts to millions of other people. Now more than ever, people write for satisfaction rather than for some academic or professional curriculum. With U.S literacy rates at nearly 100% and more mediums to transmit those thoughts, such as WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook Myspace, is it any wonder why people would prefer to be their own publishers of thought?

An embarrassing high school photo becomes synonymous with bad luck, Boromir is remembered for something besides being shot by more arrows than Legolas can count, and Keanu Reeves will always remain Ted.

Writing Keanu

The current paradigm is so free because writing and learning how to write in schools was so restrictive in comparison. As Yancey put it:

Writing has historically and inextricably been linked to testing… writing-as-testing that continues to haunt us today (Yancey 2)

Writing was boring. Writing was for test taking purposes. No wonder it was so associated with classroom tedium. Perhaps most importantly is that it seems like no one was taught to write for themselves. Writing is labor, there is no doubt about that, but writing is an expression of self. This was the most overlooked aspect of school curriculum. Writing meant preparing specific answers to exams ad nauseam. Creativity and self expression were not taught or valued.

Powerful writing does not come from verbatim answers on an exam or in some kind of preparatory test. It comes from expressing the self and the world around you. No one cares how well Stephen King did on his SATs, but we do care if IT scares the fucking shit out of us or wonder what experience he had with dogs to write Cujo.

Yes, a lot of our personal stuff will be on the Internet because sometimes, we are stupid enough to do that, but this is the best time to be a writer. We want to share our thoughts, stories, and observations to everyone willing to click on our username or just stop for a sec to glance at an irrelevant tweet.

Writers are everywhere, yes, but so too are audiences (Yancey 5)

Take advantage of that and revel in the fun and excitement of creating a random Internet meme of that guy you heard that line from somewhere or just a cute bear with a funny expression on its face. The writers are there. The audiences are there. We should be too.

Question to ponder: 

Is Conspiracy Keanu right? Has there always been the same amount of writing, but given the visibility of the Internet and Social Networking Sites, we can just see more of it?